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Norfolk Southern: The Top in Week 41 Intermodal Traffic Growth

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Nov. 20 2020, Updated 11:52 a.m. ET

NSC’s carload traffic in Week 41

Eastern US rail carrier Norfolk Southern (NSC) registered a 3.1% YoY (year-over-year) slump in carload traffic. It moved ~67,000 railcars excluding intermodal units in the week compared to ~69,100 in the comparable period last year.

Compared to Norfolk Southern’s carload loss, its rival CSX (CSX) posted 4.1% YoY growth in Week 41. In terms of carload growth, Canadian National Railway (CNI) ranked first in the week with a 5.7% gain among all Class I railroads (FXR). Its rival Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) with 6.8% gains was in second place. CSX and BNSF Railway (BRK.B) remained in third and fourth places with respective gains of 4.1% and 3.8%.

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In Week 41, NSC’s commodity groups except coal and coke made up 71.2% of the total carload traffic. Coal and coke traffic made up 28.8% of total carloads. Traffic of commodity groups excluding coal and coke declined 2.2% YoY to 47,700 units, from ~48,700 units. Coal and coke traffic declined 5.4% YoY to ~19,300 units in the week, from ~20,300 units.

Changes in NSC’s commodity groups

The following carload commodity groups’ volumes were in the green in Week 41:

  • grain
  • nonmetallic minerals
  • petroleum products
  • pulp, paper, and allied products

The following commodity groups reported reduced shipments in Week 41:

  • chemicals
  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel
  • food and kindred products
  • iron and steel scrap
  • metals and products
  • motor vehicles and equipment

NSC’s intermodal traffic in Week 41

Norfolk Southern’s intermodal volumes grew 5.9% YoY in Week 41 compared to 3% growth by US railroads. It carried 87,500 containers and trailers in the week compared to ~82,700 units in the corresponding week last year. Its container traffic grew 5.9% YoY to ~79,400 units, from ~75,000 units. Trailer traffic expanded 5.6% YoY to ~8,100 units compared to ~7,700 units.

In the first 41 weeks, Norfolk Southern’s total rail traffic volume expanded 4.5% YoY. Its gains were higher than US railroad companies’ 3.9% gains during the period.

In the next part, we’ll look at CSX’s rail traffic trends.

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